AUSTIN, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott signed into a law the Texas adoption bill that aims to protect “the rights of conscience for child welfare services providers.” As we reported in May, the controversial bill has generated both national support and criticism. Proponents claim that the new law will help an ailing child care system by protecting faith-based service organizations, which make up a sizable bulk of the potential child welfare providers. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. James Frank (R), posted on Facebook: “HB 3859 bans no one.” The aim, as he has said, is to improve the system and find stable families for troubled children. Contrary to that, critics say that the law will allow for open discrimination based on religion, marital status, or sexual preference. Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said, “With his signature [..], Gov. Abbott has joined the lieutenant governor and other lawmakers in taking Texas down a dark and cruel road.”
With the her announcement of twins and her recent Grammy performance, Beyoncé has become the center of media attention once again. Not only is Queen Bey trending this week, but she has been trending throughout the entire month of February. With her Instagram announcement of her pregnancy Feb 1, Beyoncé broke the record for the picture earning most likes on the social media platform with 2.4 million likes in one hour. As is usual, the fans and the haters are all over the interwebs weighing in on the topic. With all the hype about what’s next for Beyoncé and the loud group of people vocalizing how much they do not care, I couldn’t help but focus on the strong spiritual significance of the imagery on display.
NEW YORK — WitchsFestUSA, an annual Pagan festival held in the heart of New York City, was attended this year by Christian protesters. The noisy group, who stood all day on the corner of Astor Place, held up large signs calling for repentance and angrily yelling at the passing crowd. Despite the protesters’ presence, the Pagan festival kept to its program and ended on a high note. Now in its fifth year, WitchsFestUSA describes itself as an outdoor, Pagan street faire. Its mission is to “bring the community of witches or pagans together in general and enjoy who we are as such, while at the same time raising funds for The NYC Wiccan Family Temple acquire our own space of worship.”
The International Left Hand Path Consortium (LHP) recently found itself at the center of controversy only weeks before its scheduled event in Atlanta Apr 8-10. Organizers had invited Augustus Sol Invictus to be one of the many guest speakers. When the anti-fascist watchdog group Antifa found out, it began to pressure LHP to dismiss Invictus from the program. However, the organizers remained steadfast in their decision, citing their support of free speech. Organizers wrote, “The left hand path is full of controversial figures; which is why it is called The Left Hand Path and not your grandmother’s sewing circle.”
Black History Month in 2016 is coming to an end as the last day of February looms just around the corner. Despite the extra day this year, for many people this time of celebration and remembrance is too short. Twenty-nine days just is not long enough to celebrate Black people in this country. Black History celebrations happen throughout the month of February every year. Whether we see lessons of history or moments of pride on television, posts of memes, or Black history commercials, this month is about more than just a few moments of reflection to those within the Black community.